Students from New York City's Mannes College The New School for Music will have a rare opportunity to gain hands-on conducting experience this season, thanks to a unique collaboration between the college and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Students Matthew Tosca and Edward Poll will serve as cover conductors for several BPO M&T Classics Series concerts during the 2013-14 season. They will travel from New York to Buffalo and spend time studying the scores of the pieces being performed. While in town, they will attend rehearsals to learn from BPO music director JoAnn Falletta.
BPO Executive Director Daniel Hart described the students' role as being similar to that of a Broadway understudy.
"It's a great opportunity for young conductors to gain real-life experience," Falletta said. "Chances for students to have this kind of role in conducting a full orchestra are very rare. Last year's students found this an invaluable opportunity, and learned a great deal. We're pleased to be able to collaborate with two more students and to help guide them on the road to successful careers."
This is the second year of the collaboration.
"Our growing partnership with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra uniquely prepares conducting students for the rapidly changing demands of the professional marketplace," said Richard Kessler, dean of Mannes College The New School for Music. "The partnership exemplifies Mannes' unique approach, which unites rigorous artistic training with professional-level exposure to the ongoing evolution of classical music."
Conductor and violinist Tosca is 24 years old and a native of Tampa, Fla. In the fall of 2007, He entered the bachelor of music program at Mannes College The New School for Music, and graduated in 2011 with a violin performance degree. In 2009, Tosca began the path of a double-major, pursuing his master's degree in orchestral conducting at Mannes College The New School for Music. This past year, he made his debut with the Mannes Orchestra, giving the world premiere of Rosalie Burrell's piece "Paved with Gold." He also conducted the Mannes Repertory Orchestra and Choir in the Brahms "Schicksalslied."
Tosca's experience with the BPO began during the week of Oct. 14, when he served as cover conductor for the "Mozart's Magic Clarinet" concert. He will return for "Amadeus" during the week of Jan. 14, 2014; "Mendelssohn's Violin" during the week of Feb. 17; and "Songs of Mahler and Barber" during the week of March 17. The repertoire he will be studying includes "Mozart and Salieri" by Rimsky-Korsakov, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, Bruckner's Symphony No. 8, Mahler's Symphony No. 4 and Barber's "Knoxville: Summer 1915."
Conductor and composer Poll completed his first opera in 2011, set to Federico Garcia Lorca's "Yerma." The work was premiered as part of the NOMADS Festival in New York City. He is currently working on his second opera in collaboration with German video artist Berit Zemke based on religious texts by Auden and Yeats. He has received the ASCAP Morton Gould Student Composer prize, and has twice won the Singing City Prize for Young Composers. Poll holds a bachelor's degree from Columbia University, and is currently pursuing a master's degree in orchestral conducting at Mannes College The New School for Music.
As part of the college's collaboration with the New School for Drama, Poll recently conducted a fully staged production of "L'Histoire du Soldat," and led the Mannes Orchestra in works by Wagner and Ravel at Symphony Space. Poll currently serves as assistant conductor to Joseph Colaneri at the Mannes Opera.
He will be in Buffalo during the week of Dec. 2 for "Classic Christmas"; during the week of Jan. 27, 2014, for "Bianconi Plays Rach 3"; during the week of March 4 for "Beethoven's Fifth"; and the week of April 7 for "Journey on the Rhine." The repertoire he will be studying includes Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, Schumann's Symphony No. 3 "Rhenish," Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 and Glazunov's "The Seasons."